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Jessie Ball duPont Library

Research Writing

A beginner's guide to creating a research strategy for all of your papers.

Humanities

Steps
•“Reading” the primary source (author, philosopher, historical account, theological treatise, artistic production)
•Forming an opinion
•Then, reviewing the secondary literature (i.e., What has been said before?)
•How can you enter the stream of conversation/criticism?
•How good is your reasoning?
Write-up and Publication•
Common Issue: Students are often first taught how to research using the humanities model. Other disciplines do research in a different order.

Social Science

Steps
Literature Review: What has been done before?
•Forming a Research Claim
•Choosing Methodology
Collecting Data (Quantitative/Qualitative)
Analyzing Data (Statistical/Categorical)
Findings and Interpretations (i.e., How does your research apply to people)
Write-up and Publication

Experimental Science

Steps
Literature Review: What has been done before?
•Forming a Testable Hypothesis
•Creating the Experiment: controlling the environment
Collecting Data (Quantitative)
Analyzing Data (Mathematical/Statistical)
Validating Data – Demonstrable, Generalizable, Repeatable
Write-up and Publication
•Hidden Step: Others recreating experiments to ensure validity